N-Acetylysteine is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges the "Free Radical" molecules which appear to play some role in the nerve damage seen in a number of neuromuscular disorders. NAC benefits many of us who have FRDA because it apparently helps neutralize some of the antioxidative stress placed on our cells due to the iron accumulation in our mitochondria.
Antioxidant therapy of any sort works by contributing molecules to glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD), antioxidant enzymes which neutralize the destructive free electrons so that they can be eliminated easily from the body. Antioxidants like NAC help maintain the Redox process, the balance between reduction (gaining an electron) and oxidation (giving up an electron).
NAC is available over the counter and sometimes by prescription. In this open label study, dosage is 4-6 grams/day for adults and 60 mg/kg/day for children divided into 2-3 doses.
The University of Florida suggests the
following amounts of vitamins to be taken with the NAC:
Magnesium - 50-400 mg/ day
Selenium - 100 mcg/day
Vitamin E (D-Alpha) - 400-800 U/day
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - 25-50 mg/day
**Also, you can simply take a Centrum vitamin everyday instead of having to buy four different kinds of vitamins.
The Magnesium should be taken 2 hours before and/or after NAC.
Also, it is recommended that you begin NAC at a low dose, such as 4 grams, and then gradually build up, max. 6 grams, to the dosage which you tolerate best.
If you have any questions about NAC and how much of it and the vitamins to take, PLEASE call my neurologist's assistant, Dr. Russell Hurd, at (352) 375-6137, or write him at VAMC Neurology (127), 1601 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL, 32608. Dr. Hurd is a research chemist who can answer your questions about NAC.
CoenzymeQ10 is an essential mitochondrial component with antioxidant properties. It is one of the quinones, which are related to Vitamin E. It is also known as ubiquinone. It works in the lipid cell areas, and has been shown to help prevent and aid in the recovery from heart disease. Receptagen (pharmaceutical company) is currently developing a water soluble form of CoQ10 which should be even more effective.
In the case of Friedreich's Ataxia, the CoQ10 may help prevent and lessen the effects of cardiomyopathy which is often a secondary symptom. Also, two double-blind studies (Folkers, K.; Biochemica et Physica Acta; 1271;1995;pp281-286) have shown the CoQ10 to be effective in the treatment of neuromuscular disorders. Not all of UF's patients taking NAC are taking CoQ10, so that is why it is not on the UF regimen. I am taking 300mg daily, in 150mg capsules.